There are many instances where you may be without your car. You might be on a vacation or a business trip and need to get around a new city. Perhaps your car is in the shop, and you still need a way to get around. The solution for many people is rental cars. However, if you do drive a rental car, you must practice the same level of care as if it were your own. If not, you could find yourself in a rental car accident.
The last thing you want to deal with when on vacation or a business trip is a car accident. Often, these accidents do involve rental cars. All car accidents are stressful, but a rental car accident is different. After all, that car is not your car. Insurance questions become even more complicated, which is why it pays to have a trusted car accident attorney on your side.
Rental car accidents can get complicated. While these accidents share many qualities with typical accidents, there are some key differences. The expert Oklahoma car accident attorneys at AMA Law possess the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to help you navigate these accidents. If you find yourself in a rental car accident, give us a call and let us help.
Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents
Even if you are an incredibly safe driver, you cannot control the actions of others. While you might practice extreme caution on the road, others are not always as careful. Many people drive recklessly, with no care for others.
Things can become even trickier when you’re driving a car that you aren’t used to driving. You might not be accustomed to how a rental car drives. Regardless, a rental car accident can occur for a host of reasons.
Some of the most common include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving (texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, using your GPS, etc.)
- Aggressive driving/road rage
- Failure to use signals
- Failure to obey traffic signs, lights, and laws
- Inclement weather
- Poor road condition
Often, those driving rental cars rely on their GPS to help them get around an unfamiliar city. Naturally, this distracts them and takes their eyes off the road, which only increases the risks of a rental car accident.
When discussing rental car accidents, one of the first questions asked is about insurance, understandably so. After all, a rental car is not your vehicle. Each scenario varies, and each rental company has different policies. Remember, it is illegal to drive a rental car without insurance in most states.
Rental Car Company
Many rental companies may ask you to sign a collision damage waiver (CDW). This waiver is additional insurance coverage offered to you by a rental company. A CDW will typically cover any losses from theft or damage done to your rental car. However, many don’t offer coverage for bodily injuries.
Regardless, always check with a rental company to learn more about the insurance options they offer and what they cover. Remember, this insurance replaces your own insurance and is always optional. If a rental car accident was due to reckless driving (speeding, drunk driving, etc.) or you breach the rental agreement, the CDW will not cover damages.
Your Own Car Insurance
You can decide to use your own insurance. Most personal auto insurance policies do cover rentals. However, you should always check with your insurance provider. Also, ask about your coverage limit and deductible. If your policy does cover rentals, it should cover both collision and liability up to your coverage limit.
Many car insurance policies offer collision coverage as part of your existing policy. This coverage will extend to damage sustained to any car you drive, including rentals. You can also get liability insurance, which will cover damages to another vehicle if you were at fault in an accident, as well as medical expenses.
Credit Card Company
Some major credit companies even offer rental car insurance when you place rental charges on your credit card. You should always reach out to your credit card company to ensure they have this option to research the policy further. Some credit card insurance policies only cover damages to your vehicle and do not offer liability coverage.
What to Do Following a Rental Car Accident
When you get in an accident with a rental car, things can get complicated. The way you handle a rental car accident will help you recover damages and protect yourself.
If you find yourself in one of these accidents, you should:
- Contact 911: The police will arrive at the scene and make a police report. This report will assist you in your insurance claim. The police will also ensure any injured people get the treatment they need.
- Seek Medical Attention Right Away: Some injuries aren’t apparent right away. They take weeks to make themselves known. If you seek treatment right away, a healthcare professional can document your injuries, and you can receive the appropriate treatment. If you wait too long to diagnose your injuries, you might not be able to recover damages.
- Document the Accident: Immediately after the accident, write down all the details you can remember (location, how it happened, etc.). Take several photos of the vehicles involved, the scene of the accident, your injuries, and anything relevant.
- Collect Contact Information: Exchange contact information with all involved parties. This information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers.
- Contact the Rental Company: Often, the rental car should have the number you should contact in the vehicle. Ask them what steps they need you to take, which typically consists of the above. They will tell you what to do with the car, as well.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider: Begin filing a claim through whoever is providing your coverage (your own insurance, the rental car company, or credit card company). Do so immediately after the accident.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Finally, reach out to a car accident attorney as soon as possible. While rental car accidents are similar to common car accidents, there are some differences that may get confusing. These attorneys will be able to help you navigate these proceedings, providing useful information regarding liability and recovering compensation. Give our Oklahoma car accident law firm at AMA Law a call today if you are involved in a rental car accident.